Parenting is a challenging job that can sometimes be discouraging; at other times it can be just plain frustrating and stressful. As a homeschooling mother of eight children, I have had many times of feeling very frustrated and/or stressed. It’s normal to have those feelings at times. However, it shouldn’t be the norm.
God meant for our children to be a blessing and a joy to us, not a burden that stresses us. If I am constantly frustrated, I am not going to enjoy homeschooling my kids, or being with them.
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Therefore, when I find myself feeling this way, I try to identify the cause. Once I know what is causing it, I am able to work on a solution that will take away that frustration.
Some of the most common causes of parental frustration are:
1. Arguing and Sibling Squabbles
This is probably one of the things that frustrates me the most! It can be overwhelming when the kids are continually teasing, tattling, bossing, putting each other down, etc. However, as I have told my children often, God put each of them in our family with their unique personalities, to help each of us learn and grow.
There are daily opportunities to learn to treat each other kindly, respond properly to irritations, practice self-control, and be a peacemaker. Dealing with the sibling rivalry and conflicts isn’t always easy, but it will make your home much more peaceful , and help your kids develop skills that will be valuable when they become adults.
2. No Sense of Accomplishment.
How many times as busy moms do we end our day feeling discouraged because “we didn’t get ANYTHING done”? I had to realize that the things on my to-do-list usually weren’t as important as the things that I had accomplished that day.
The time I had spent serving my husband and family, teaching and training our children, or teaching God’s Word to the kids was time spent on things of eternal value.
Any time we spend investing in our families, is time well spent. The results may not be immediately visible, like a finished project in the home would be, but in the end it’s what really matters.
3. Lack of Character in Kids
If my kids are weak in certain areas of character, it can make things much more stressful. For example, if I am trying to teach them, and they haven’t learned to be attentive, it is very frustrating to me. I can’t teach them anything if they aren’t paying attention. If they haven’t learned to be diligent, getting our academics done daily can become a source of frustration. Making it a top priority to work on character training and development when the kids are young, will reap great results and make the later years much easier. I believe the harder you work on teaching and training your children when they are little, the easier your job will be later.
4. Out of Control Children
Children need to be taken from parent control, to self-control, to God control. That’s the big picture to keep in mind. This goes back to the character issue, and the character quality of obedience.
If your children haven’t learned to obey you, and are out of control, you will be constantly frustrated, and trying to teach them anything academically will be very stressful. Every day you will fight the battle of the will. Your children need to learn to listen and obey the first time they are told, without question.
If your children learn to obey, and aren’t out of control, your days will go much smoother, and be more productive.
5. Over Commitment
Life is busy, and we all face the challenge of having to choose which things to say yes to, and saying no to a lot more things than we say yes to. We can’t do it all.
When I get too busy, it crowds out my relationship with the Lord, and with others. When our days are full with activities, it stresses each member of the family. Being too busy also increases our physical fatigue, and often our health suffers.
The answer lies in making wise choices. Go to the Lord and ask Him for His wisdom, and for guidance as to what HE wants for your family; how He wants you to use your time, and spend your days; what activities He wants you involved in. Go to God and seek His priorities daily.
“Let all things be done decently and in order.” (I Corinthians 14:40 KJV) Being organized and orderly is important to God. It also will make a huge difference in your productivity each day.
There’s nothing more frustrating than starting your day off looking for school books, paper, or pencils. Having your kids running around doing their own thing because there is no structure, will add to the confusion.
It is well worth it for you to set aside a block of time to organize your time, and make a weekly schedule for everyone to follow, that includes household management.
Keep in mind that the schedule is a tool, and not your master. It is meant to give structure and guidance to the kids, and enable them to know what is expected each day.
It’s a way to incorporate your priorities into each day, and accomplish the things that matter. I would suggest not worrying about exact times, so much as a routine to follow each day. Allow for flexibility as needed.
Parenting and homeschooling may not always be easy, and there will be times of frustration. Stay encouraged and excited about the eternal value of the job God has trusted you with as you raise those blessings for Him!